How To Win A Cookbook Deal, £10,000 And Recipe Feature In Red

By West Africa Cooks, 5 April, 2016

So you are an African foodie a wonderful chef, family cook or part time caterering entrepreneur. You wish to win the competition new talent in African food and would like to know how do you go about doing this? Well let break it down. The prize is a big recipe feature in the magazine Red, a cookbook deal and £10,000 advance from publishers HarperCollins. Check out the Red competition page if you have not done so. OK so we have a high profile magazine, top book publisher and the panel let's look at them.

The first thing to do is find out about these industries, the processes and the people that work in them. These editors know about publishing and writing to a target market. Do some research online about who these people are, their general background and motivations. Now look at the audience that reads the magazines and reads cook books. Make some notes on the target audience of Red magazine see and for the demographics.

Read Trying Ethnic Food, African and Caribbean Cuisine

The second thing to do is buy the magazine Red. Once you have a copy in your hands look at the cover, feel the pages consider the price.

  • Think what would it would be like to receive this magazine in the post
  • Opening it up and settled down to read
  • Note the colours, text, images and layout
  • Observe the style, features, pictures, adverts and brands
  • Read it. It's the weekend read it again and think about who else is reading the magazine at that time and why
  • Read the section living section take a look at the recipes
  • The language that is used who does it appeal too?

Your favorite magazine brand. Where did this person buy the magazine? The international airport, local newsagents in the home county or maybe they subscribed for a monthly copy which they received a week before general sale. The reader knows that their brand magazine is about insight into celebrity life and they have a feeling that they can relate to these A listers. Check out the Red Online magazine.

More Critical Insight

Pick up a few HarperCollins cooking book. What helps sell the book? The cover image, title, then brief description then reviews, author name and price are important. What would your book title be and why. Think about and try to answer these questions. What about African cook book? Take a look at the most recent published.

So you had done some research on the market now lets take a look at the details on what the judges will be marking on. It is going to be creativity and passion in words and pictures on submission of five full origin recipes of 100 words. So the key thing to note this is a creative writing competition. It reads five recipe ideas (including at least one vegetarian, at least one dessert) plus 10 suggestions. Once you have got past the first round in person the judging in on inspiration, explanation style, knowledge of cooking and tasting of your recipe. Approx 1,000 words on who you are, what you do, your approach to food cooking, how you got to where you are.

Read Top Ten Tips To Win The Big Book Prize

Get To Know The Panel

The Red Magazine: Pip McCormac, Lifestyle Director heads up the project find out as much as you can about the living section he edits. Pip knows what people like to cook at home. Follow him at

Grace Cheetham Publishing Director HarperCollins has knowledge of the publishing world from the biggest companies. Here are her details and Also see diversity and inclusion at HarperCollins and Newscorp Leadership

Henna Butt, Food Editor of Media Diversified, see these links mediadiversified,, and Writers of Colour

Ronke Lawal, entrepreneur and African food blogger, see these links,, and

Jessica Laditan, founder of Pop Up Africa, see these links Popup African, and

Leslie Leigh, founder of West Africa Cooks read about me in the about us section

Remember the judging panel’s decision is final. This is a game of skill.

Also read Three Reasons Why You Should Document Your Recipes

The prize is a big one the winner will be able to network with influential people and there is potential for more opportunities. You will have an agent which could lead onto other chances to create marketable value. An agent will help you create a brand.

West Africa Cooks loves to find and promote new talent in African food we are therefore encouraging you to enter this competition. Categories to be broken down into North, South, East, Central and West Africa, at least one representative from each to be taken to panel.

Good luck
West Africa Cooks


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